We need politicians who can go beyond sloganeering

Opposition political parties in Zambia

It has been a burning topic, which has even triggered some blistering debates around the country.

The constitutional requirement for aspiring members of parliament and councillors to possess a minimum qualification of a grade 12 certificate has become a constant point of political contention.

Some people have dismissed the requirement as discriminatory while others think it is the best way to go.

However, what everyone needs to understand is that parliament is an important institution in designing and shaping the country’s current and future needs. As such, it requires astute and innovative leaders who thrive to find answers to problems bedevilling the country.


Again, constitutionally, parliamentarians control our destiny as a country through the laws they make. Would we want our destiny to be controlled by someone who is totally clueless?

One of the most famous quotes by the late former South African president Nelson Mandela was; “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

But how does one even change a country when they are uneducated?

Again, in a paper titled “Do Educated leaders Matter?” Timothy Besely from the London School of Economics and his fellow researchers show that highly educated leaders are responsible for better economic growth. The researchers find education as a hard variable to isolate from politics but they do find a correlation between education and politics.

However, some of our MPs, we are told, won elections because they could sing at rallies while others made it for being brave and daring rank marshals. Yes, they made it into Parliament where they talk loudly and confidently about subjects they have no clue about.

Surely, we cannot equate law making to something that resembles a community meeting resolutions. This is about the country and how it should be governed and relate to other countries.

It requires experts who have a clear understanding and foresight of what the law seeks to achieve and its consequences. These should be people, who believe in science and natural circumstances than miracles or magic.

We need legislators who are able to scrutinise and put reasonable input when Ministers present Bills in the House. This is not something that can be done by semi-literate legislators.

Also political parties depend on their legislators to express their ideologies but many MPs across the political divide cannot explain their party policies. They cannot go beyond sloganeering

It is in this light that education is important for parliamentarians. Some people will argue that being educated does not guarantee intelligence and proper representation. Yes, there are MPs who are not educated but represent their constituencies very well.

But being an MP is more than just representing a fraction of the country. We want people who can initiate and pass laws that are meant to benefit the whole country. Those who are uneducated but popular in their constituencies can do well as community leaders not in our esteemed house.